And the Oil Entices Forevermore – China’s Grab for Africa
A film by Frank Sieren
45 minute documentary
First broadcast: 06.06.2007 on ZDF
Virtually unnoticed by the world public, a global scramble has begun for Africa’s markets and resources. Whilst the G8 countries struggle with concepts for the long term development of the Dark Continent, China is forcing the old colonial powers out of Africa with investments worth billions and incomparably cheap loans. With dynamic development aid, shrewd political tactics and strategic partnerships the middle kingdom is securing the favour of the poor countries, and tapping into sources of raw materials, future markets and influence. “Now we have the choice between Asia and the West”, says Olusegun Obansanjo, one of the most influential African politicians, who since 1999 has been the democratically elected president of Nigeria, the most heavily populated and oil rich country of the continent.
EU politicians fear that moral standards and democratic achievements could be subverted by the offers of the Chinese. “The acceptance of the best offer is extremely ethnical for the future of our continent”, retorts Obansanjo. The west is bewildered. How should one react? This question is one of the central themes of the G8 summit in Heiligendamm. Not only is the west loosing access to scarce resources. German construction companies for example are experiencing the new competition on a daily basis: for decades they were firmly established on the continent, and now they have to bid against the Chinese, whose state subsidized offers they are unable to compete with. The Chinese are building roads, railway networks and whole cities. Quickly and without the red tape they make funds available and bring along their skilled workers at the same time.